User information could become vulnerable at ATMs

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Updated: 1/31 9:14 pm
Starting April 8th, Microsof will drop support of the Windows XP operating system. About 95% of the country's ATMs run on Windows XP. Amber Dean of Happy State Bank says their ATMs will be updated in time.

"When you think about the ATM network across the United States, it's massive," she said. "So it definitely is a huge undertaking."

Banks and IT departments have had plenty of warning to make the change.

"Our IT department has been working on this for several months knowing that it was coming," Dean said. "We wanted to be ahead of the curve."

But early warning doesn't mean every ATM will be converted in time. Bloomberg said 85% of ATMs will not. The longer banks wait, the more vulnerable your information will be, according to Michael Bazar of Bazar Solutions in Lubbock.

"It's not like a Y2K where everybody's worried computers will crash overnight," he said. "Any computer that has XP month after month will become more and more vulnerable to security breaches."

For banks that do not evolve with the technology, security updates and patches will no longer be available. But that doesn't necessarily mean you should worry about entering your information.

"The advantages banks have is most of the ATMs use XP embedded, which is a different operating system," Bazar said. "And that is going to carry support through 2016. Now, it depends on which ATMs, some will be and some won't be."

Bazar said it is a good idea to ask your bank if it will have an update in place by April 8th.  He also said any ATM located at a bank is always going to be more secure than stand-alone ATMs.
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